Contemporary Romance, Chick-lit
Paperback $15.99 (274 pages, ENTANGLED PUBLISHING)
What would you do if your "what if" guy showed up at the lowest point of your life?
(Autumn Cole clocked hers with an encyclopedia.)
After losing her job at a swanky Seattle art gallery and finding out her father has been hospitalized, single mother Autumn Cole reluctantly returns to her tiny hometown of Fairfield, Washington to put the pieces of her life back together.
Her disgruntled twelve-year old son isn’t thrilled about going from hip to hick, but Autumn’s got it worse. She resumes her role as the daughter of the town drunk, promptly facing a crisis with her father that’s been decades in the making.
Running into Henry Tobler, and nearly breaking his nose, is almost more than she can handle, but can rediscovering love–and herself–with her “what if” guy teach Autumn to forgive before it’s too late?
Author Site: brookemoss.com
Converted this reader to contemps! (5 stars)
As a reviewer I usually open my review with a synopsis of the plot but in this instance I feel like the blurb really gives the perfect gist of the story without being spoiler filled. This is a really complex story layered with themes of love, forgiveness, friendship, and responsibility.
I hope it says something about this book that I do not read contemporary romance. It's just not a genre I care for. I'm more of a scifi-fantasy kind of girl, give me something unreal so I can escape from reality for a while. But once in a while—a very great while—a book comes along that catches my interest that is outside my usual tastes and I'll give it a shot. The hook of THE WHAT-IF GUY for me was the locale. Being from Eastern Washington the thought of a small town in the region as the setting caught my eye but really so much of what I read in the blurb felt relatable.
My paranormal romance buddies are gonna kick my butt for saying so but I think Moss has infected me! Since finishing THE WHAT-IF GUY I've been looking for more contemporaries I might like. So how on earth did she pull that off eh? Autumn is a character I think many women can relate to. Growing up in a small town, having big dreams, ending up in a situation where those dreams get skewed, bad romances, lost love. She has so much on her plate and her return to Fairfield to care for her dad seems like an ultimate defeat. It's a train wreck situation as she runs into people from her past, has to face her mistakes, and realizes that maybe the things she ran away from aren't as bad as they seemed.
Autumn's journey is enriched by a vivid and wonderful cast of characters. From her son Elliot and her drunk dad to her former BFF and the folks about town who have looked out for her dad in her absense, the cast of Fairfield is very real and endearing. Henry, the title character, is full of surprises and it's easy to see why Autumn fell for him years ago. Their relationship might be an overall arc for the storyline but is so well woven into the rest of the plot regarding Autumn's father and her son it never stops feeling believable.
By the final chapters I'd had a few sniffle sessions and wanted to smack Autumn upside her head for being dumb but in the end this was one of the most heart-warming and enjoyable romances I have read this year. My only annoyance with the book was that it kind of moved by holidays/seasons for plot points but really it was excusable, I just thought it was distracting.
What more can this paranormal romance fanatic say? I've been converted and it would take one heck of an amazing book to pull that off. If you love chick-litty flavor without the designer label dropping, small-towns and a hero and heroine that are believable I really think you will enjoy this. Well deserving of my 'I loved it' rating.
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Notes: ARC received via Publisher.
(open to suggestions here!)